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2012: Did Roberts switch his vote?

On the rebound… Political Wire: “A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds that support for President Obama's health care law rose to 48% after the Supreme Court's ruling that it was constitutional, from 43% before the court decision.”

Let the conspiracy theories begin…

“Chief Justice John Roberts initially sided with the Supreme Court's four conservative justices to strike down the heart of President Obama's health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, but later changed his position and formed an alliance with liberals to uphold the bulk of the law, according to two sources with specific knowledge of the deliberations,” CBS’s Crawford reports. “Roberts then withstood a month-long, desperate campaign to bring him back to his original position, the sources said. Ironically, Justice Anthony Kennedy - believed by many conservatives to be the justice most likely to defect and vote for the law - led the effort to try to bring Roberts back to the fold.”

More: “[S]o the conservatives handed him their own message which, as one justice put it, essentially translated into, ‘You're on your own.’ The conservatives refused to join any aspect of his opinion, including sections with which they agreed, such as his analysis imposing limits on Congress' power under the Commerce Clause, the sources said. Instead, the four joined forces and crafted a highly unusual, unsigned joint dissent. They deliberately ignored Roberts' decision, the sources said, as if they were no longer even willing to engage with him in debate.”

Politico’s Mahtesian: “From Crawford’s piece, you get the sense that Roberts played the politician’s role in the vote – he was the one looking at the angles, considering the historical consequences, and the one thinking about the effect of the decision on the court’s public standing.”

You also get the sense that members of the court, including the arch-conservatives who wouldn’t even sign onto portions they agreed with, are every bit the partisans that members of Congress are.

“Chief Justice John Roberts could have taken down the entire, massive health care law that his fellow Republicans deride as ‘Obamacare,’” the AP writes. “He could have prevented the Supreme Court decision that largely disabled the most disputed aspects of Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigrants. He didn't do either, and in the process surprised (or dismayed) longtime court observers of every political stripe. Those two outcomes in the finals days of his seventh year on the court offer some clues for reassessing what kind of chief justice Roberts is and intends to be. Is he no longer the rock-ribbed conservative loved by supporters and jeered by opponents? Has he become a pragmatic leader mindful of the court's place in history? Is he more canny, but still solidly conservative?”

“Like most minorities, Hispanics traditionally have leaned Democratic,” AP writes. “But a recent Pew Research poll indicates that Hispanics also are the fastest-growing group of independent voters, with 46 percent now shunning a party label compared with 31 percent six years ago. Such results only underscore how diverse Hispanics are and the challenges for the political parties.”